Monday, August 26, 2013

1st Day of 2nd Grade

It was Connor's first day of 2nd grade, and he was SO excited. He came bouncing downstairs this morning already dressed with his shoes on and everything! And he even suggested that I take his picture, before I had a chance to ask.

1st day of 2nd grade!

His new backpack -- he insisted that I put "Conman" on there this year. Ha!

We had big plans to walk to school today, but right as we were leaving it started raining. So we drove a little closer to the school and walked with an umbrella. Kaitlynn was just as excited as Connor for his 1st day.

Kaitlynn and Connor.

We walked Connor to his new classroom and got him settled at his desk. The kids were all SO quiet this morning. First day jitters??

Connor at his desk.

We wished Connor and Mrs. Sartor a great day at school, and we also changed him from a car rider to a "hiker" as his method for getting home from school. We live so close to the school that we are thinking he'll make a great walker and save me a lot of hours in the car lines each afternoon.

So when it came time for dismissal, Kaitlynn and I walked over to the school to wait for Connor and stopped to chat with several folks along the way. It was a breezy, overcast afternoon but we were worried about the threat of rain. Sure enough, just when the walkers were released, the skies opened up and the rain started coming!

Connor after school -- he wears this hoodie as a rain jacket.

We started walking quickly back towards home, but the more we walked, the harder the rain came down. Soon enough, it was a downpour! Our clothes were drenched even though we had an umbrella. I told Connor, "Welcome to being a walker!" Ha!

Finally back home, he was drenched!

We finally made it home and dumped all our clothes into the washing machine. I may have to buy another new backpack, this time making sure it's waterproof, ha!

Finally, I was able to hear all about Connor's 1st day of 2nd grade. He LOVED it and he LOVES his teacher! We are so blessed to attend such an amazing school with top notch teachers, and we have another exciting school year ahead to look forward to!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

End-of-Summer Recap

It's hard to believe the summer is at an end already. But boy, is this Mom ready! The beginning of our summer was so busy and packed with fun trips and activities, but towards the end we have been a little lazy and enjoying some down time. I have been remembering again out how hard it is to be productive with two kids at home, so we are definitely ready to get back to a good routine with school. Here's some random pics from our summer fun that haven't yet made it on the blog.

Early in the summer, Connor went on a streak of losing his baby teeth. He lost his two front teeth back to back, and it has really transformed his smile this summer.

After he lost the first front tooth, the other one looked like a big fang.

One morning I caught Connor trying to pull that dangling front tooth.

Here it is, hanging on by a thread.

Success! (His head is also scraped up from a fall on some concrete.)

Another thing poor Connor has been dealing with this summer is a rash of yucky warts. He's had one on his knee for a couple of years and we keep trying to get it frozen off, but it continues to grow bigger and has formed into a donut shape. Then they started spreading to his opposite knee and all over his elbows. We visited the dermatologist this summer and she is trying to help us get rid of them for good. To the little warts, she applied "beetlejuice" from some sort of beetle that causes your skin to blister badly. After the warts are treated with it, they usually blister up and disappear. But for his bigger warts, they had to be injected (shots!) and it has been a painful process. The ones on his knees are so stubborn and just won't go away, so we are going to have to resume more injections. We're planning to wait until after football season (because he doesn't need anymore injuries to deal with!)

One of his knee warts before treatment. The green spots are the little warts with beetlejuice!

The big bad donut wart.

Getting injections. Poor guy, he was in so much pain.

This is an After shot of the donut wart.

An after shot of the single knee wart -- it's now bigger and donut shaped. UGH!

Earlier in August, we were excited to have Collin home for a couple of days so we decided to celebrate with a fun day at Schlitterbahn in Galveston. We just LOVE water parks, so fun! Kaitlynn still talks about her experience last summer (when she was knocked out of her tube in the lazy river and we couldn't find her) so I wondered how she would handle Schlitterbahn this year. She did great, while her Mommy was a nervous wreck. Ha!

And, we have now reached the phase where I have to send Connor with his big brothers to ride the tallest, scariest rides in the park because he LOVES them and I don't care to join him. His favorite slide is that one that drops straight down (and gives you a major wedgie, haha). Crazy!

The boys taking a snack break after riding some slides together.

Our family pic before dinner in Galveston.

One of the things we have missed a lot since moving to Katy is our former gymnastics/dance place called Cypress Academy. Kaitlynn LOVED her gymnastics and ballet classes, and Connor had so much fun and learned so much at his hip hop class each week. I've been trying to figure out how to get them in a similar place out here, and come to find out that there is a gym out here owned by the same family and offers the same exact schedules as our former place. They hosted a Parents Day Out recently and we tried it out to see if the kids liked it as much as Cypress Academy. The answer was obvious; they love it and can't wait to start gymnastics and hip hop classes there this fall!

Look at that excited smile. She is SO happy to be back in her leotard at the gym!

The "mountain" in the picture is the fun play area for the preschoolers.

Another thing we've been doing is gearing up for Kaitlynn's year of pre-K at her new preschool, His Kids Preschool at Second Baptist Church in Katy. Kaitlynn had never visited before, so we took a sneak peak at her new playground when we turned in some paperwork last week. Boy, is she excited to start school now!

Kaitlynn wanted me to take this picture to text to her Daddy. She is proud of her new playground!

While Connor has been in camps this summer, we had many girls' shopping days. Kaitlynn always has to pick out a purse to bring and accessories to wear. Her fashion sense is interesting :-)

Kaitlynn wore these pink wristbands on another outing.

Ice cream at our favorite new restaurant, All Star Grill.

He loves to make his own ice cream cones.

Summertime always means fun mixed with pure exhaustion. It always makes me smile when I catch my kids passed out, because it RARELY happens. We've pretty much eliminated naps completely this summer, so by the end of the day this has become a more frequent scene:

I walked away for a few minutes and found her completely passed out. Bedtime!

And this time, she didn't even make it into her pajamas.

Daddy carrying her to bed.

Connor showing off his homemade strawberry shortcake one night after dinner.

We still haven't made many friends or met many folks in our new neighborhood in Katy, so we were excited to find out that they were hosting a Back to School party at the model home in one of the newer sections of Woodcreek. It was a beautiful, breezy summer night and we all enjoyed the food, fun, and meeting some new friends and neighbors.

A great turnout for our neighborhood back to school party.

Enjoying the catered icee treats.

Connor took this pic of us at the party :-)

On the last day of "summer" Connor and Kaitlynn made a list of lots of fun things we could do to celebrate. We ended up hitting Katy Mills and enjoying some play time, a yummy lunch, and a last summer visit to the library followed by a cookie treat. It's so hard to believe summer is over!

Bring on the new school year, we are READY!

Friday, August 23, 2013

2nd Grade, Here He Comes!

School is almost back in session and Connor is a big 2nd grader now! I'm still trying to figure out how we got here so fast, but it sure is an exciting time for him!

Last week we attended Meet the Teacher night at Connor's school to meet his 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Sartor. I think we may have hit the jackpot this year; she couldn't be any sweeter!!

Could they be any cuter?! So excited!

This was our first back-to-school experience in our new school/district, and boy, is it different. The first thing I noticed was that when we arrived 15 minutes early to Meet-the-Teacher night, there wasn't a parking spot within a full block radius of the school and hundreds of parents and students were lined up outside the main entrance. Crazy! As we walked through the hallways in search of Connor's classroom, we were greeted with smiles and cheers from the Woodcreek staff. Then, when I signed in on the parent volunteer form, every parent that had signed in had checked multiple boxes for volunteer opportunities. SO different from our previous school!

We finally located Mrs. Sartor's classroom, which is one of a few in the 3rd grade hall. Connor was super excited about that and joking that he skipped 2nd grade and went straight to 3rd, ha! We filled out some paperwork and unpacked Connor's school supplies in his desk. He already knows a few students from last year, so that was fun for him. And his favorite thing was the little back-to-school treat that Mrs. Sartor had placed at each student's desk.

O-FISH-ally a Second Grader!

After we finished up in Mrs. Sartor's room, we visited Mrs. Vaid (his teacher from last year) who is teaching 3rd grade this year. Connor was excited to see her and tell her that this year he moved to the 3rd grade...hall. Ha! Then I was able to visit with a couple of the assistant principals about some of the volunteer stuff that I'm involved with, so it was nice to meet with them in person and introduce Connor. What was supposed to be a 30-minute session turned into a visit that lasted over an hour because we were having so much fun at Connor's school. When we left, we were both all smiles and full of excitement for the new school year. On the short drive home, I was telling Connor how excited I am for his new year and how seeing his enthusiasm makes me remember why we moved out here and how it'll all be worth it. (It's been a tough summer of adjustment for us.)

Bring on 2nd Grade!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

House Tour

It has always been hard for me to share my home with others when it doesn't feel "done" or decorated to my liking. I know that nobody expects it to be perfect and in fact, anyone who's ever moved understands how long it takes to get settled. But for some reason, I have such a hang-up about this and just don't feel comfortable having people over or sharing pics of our home.

The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting you have one (just did) and I've decided the second step will be to just get it over with and post house pictures, ha! So here goes, our house tour in all its (undecorated) glory. And to be fair, I admit that I took these pics right after the cleaning lady visited, in case you were wondering about the vacuumed carpets and dust-free interior -- which is the exception and not the rule. Baby steps.

So let's start with the exterior.

Our home on Hidden Timbers Lane.

And here's the back. The yard is a pretty decent size. I had (still have) visions of a sparkling pool to go here one day. Hopefully while we still live here, ha! Also, our yard overlooks a big retention pond with a fountain. So let's just call it a lake, OK? :-)

Looking at the back of the house.

This is looking out from our back patio to the left.

And this is looking out our back patio to the right. That long building in the distance is a storage facilty, and they are just now putting in new roads in front of it for a new section of our neighborhood. So soon our view will be new homes instead of the storage facility.

This is the view when you step to the fence. That long building on the left side of the pic is Connor's elementary school.

OK, so now for the inside of the house. We converted the formal living room into a study by adding the wall and french doors. It would be my favorite room in the house because of the color, but for now it's kind of a junk room with random furniture and things that we don't know what to do with.

The study, before we moved all our junk in there.

And opposite from the study is the dining room, which is being used as the kids' playroom for now. You gotta love how the first thing people see when they walk in our house is piles and piles of kids' toys and books. It's like a flashing neon sign, "Kids Live Here!" Ha!

Walking further into the house is the stairwell and living room. My favorite thing here is, of course, the awesome built-in cabinets that my brother built for us despite all the measurement errors that I made. And Jeff recently finished tiling the fireplace area, so it finally looks like a finished room.

Looking up the stairs.

Living room.

Another angle of living room.

Close-up of living room cabinets and fireplace.

Last shot of living room overlooking kitchen.

The kitchen is right off the living room. It's a very similar layout to our former house.

View of kitchen looking into living room.

Off the kitchen is our 4th bedroom with attached bathroom. Kevin has been using it but since he'll be off to college soon, it will probably just be called the guest room. This is the first/only "finished" room in the house.

Downstairs guest bedroom.

Opposite angle of guest room, the closed door leads to the bathroom. That door wasn't there when we moved in, but we added it so that it gave the bedroom an on-suite bath.

On the other side of the living room is a hallway with a guest 1/2 bath on one end and our master bed/bath on the other end. It's hard to tell from the pics, but the master is quite large and looks pretty empty these days with just a bed in there. Still trying to figure out how to decorate!

Master bedroom and lots of empty space.

Opposite angle of master bedroom opening into master bath.

Here's the master bath.

It's a good size and we are really enjoying the large tub and shower (bigger than our last).

Back to the stairs, when you first walk up you see a landing with steps up to the gameroom. It's a nice size and perfect for the kids to watch their shows or play.

View of gameroom, of course with a Houston Texans theme :-)

Opposite angle of gameroom.

On one side of the gameroom is Connor's bedroom and a separate full bath, and on the other side is Kaitlynn's bedroom with another separate full bath. Oddly, the bathrooms aren't connected to the bedrooms so we really aren't using them much yet.

Connor's Houston Texans bedroom (what did you expect, ha?!)

Opposite view of Connor's room.

Walking into Kaitlynn's bedroom.

Opposite view of Kaitlynn's room.

Even though most of the rooms are still pretty bare and not much is happening in the way of decorating, we have done a LOT of work to the house. We replaced the downstairs carpet with wood, repainted the entire house, added some doors/walls, added the cabinets, and changed the fireplace. Here are some pictures of the house before we moved in (with the former owner's furniture).

Living room (before).

Living room (before).

Dining room and formal living (before).

Master bedroom (before).

Guest bedroom (before).

So even though I feel like there is so much work to be done to our house, it makes me feel good to look back and see how far we've come in a few short months.